Boy Scouts Refuse to Give Teen an Eagle Scout Badge Because He's Gay

Say What!? 37

Boy ScoutsNeed another sign that the Boy Scouts of America have a serious problem with gays? His name is Ryan Andresen, and he's worked his way all the way up to Eagle Scout over the years, putting in the same kind of effort as every other boy trying to get the Scouts' top rank. Only now the BSA has decided the teenager doesn't actually deserve the coveted badge ... because he's gay.

The whole fiasco has taken the Internet by storm, and Andresen is getting support by the thousands in the form of the angry masses singing a petition put together by his mom, demanding the BSA give in and give him his darn badge. Good for Mom for standing by her son, but I think it's high time we acknowledge the rather large and gray elephant in the room, don't you?

What the heck was a gay kid doing in the Boy Scouts of America in the first place?

It's a group known the world over for being homophobic, and they're not closeted about it. Just this past summer we were treated to an official announcement from the powers-that-be at the private organization that they will continue to discriminate against LGBT kids and adults who would like to volunteer. It's sad, but as the courts have reminded us again and again, as a privately-funded organization with religious roots, the Boy Scouts can get away with it.

Which means they can tell Ryan Andresen where to stick it, and no amount of petitions from his mom can change their minds.

So I ask again: why did Karen Andresen continue to push her gay son through the ranks of a homophobic organization? From the sounds of it, she's a supportive mom who understands that her son was born this way. That's a parenting win right there.

But encouraging him to stay with Scouts means she was either telling her son, "Oh honey, don't worry, the rules don't apply to you," or she was setting him up to be screwed by a system that was specifically designed to tell him there's something wrong with him. It probably wasn't intentional on Karen's part, but sadly, either option smacks of poor parenting.

Kids don't need to be molded to meet the requirements of some narrow-minded group like the Boy Scouts. They need true support. And they need to know that there are some places where they can't or shouldn't go, places where you can't suddenly have the rules changed to fit you.

What a kid like Ryan needs is to be guided toward an organization where he can do something positive for the world regardless of his sexual orientation. Kids need to find a place where their efforts are valued not undermined because those are the types of organizations that turn out good citizens. 

The petition to get Ryan his Eagle Scout is well-meant, but it doesn't address the real problem here. We don't need an organization to change its rules for a kid; we need families to value their kids over an organization.

Would you sign the petition for Ryan or do you think the denial of his Eagle Scout was to be expected?


Image via anja_johnson/Flickr

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MayUb... MayUbEhappY

I, of course, don't support bsa but do support Girl Scouts of America. Bsa (eh, to me they are Bull Shit of America) are a private organization and we know their stance. If they are so negative and blind, that's their ignorant right, even though it's WRONG. I don't understand why you'd want to belong to a group that's so opposed to human rights and equality for all. I wouldn't want my family associated with these people so why fight to want to belong to a close minded group that will not ever accept you because of something as irrelevant as your sexual orientation?

nonmember avatar Leslie

Unfortunately, the BSA provides a type of group that isn't really available elsewhere and so what this mother and her son have been doing is being activists Within the organization. In another article about this, it's already been said that many local chapters have decided to not support BSA's discrimination policy. They are a private organization, but they are also a private organization with rules that can be changed, not necessarily by the courts, but by their members. So, I applaud this mother and her son for highlighting the discimination of this organization and pushing for change, because they are on the wrong side of history and they will have to.

NatAndCo NatAndCo

If he earned it then they should give it to him. If they are so anti gay, why let him remain in the boy scouts and work towards the badge if they have no intention of giving it to him?

the4m... the4mutts

While I don't agree with their stance on gays, its their right, and nobody should try to force them to change it. Just don't support them, and leave it alone.

As to why they won't give him his badge... well, if they knew he was gay before he earned it, and they let him stay, then they need to suck it up and give it to him. If he came out of the closet and did somethin like "see, I made it this far, and you never even knew!" Then its his own fault, and he should walk away.

zandh... zandhmom2

I'll never understand why people act "surprise" by the bsa stance. It is well known how they feel about homosexuality.  If you are truly born that way, then that boy knew years ago that he was gay and he should have dropped out way back then.  I believe honesty is also a trait needed to be a boy scout. No, I won't sign the petition...I already had it come in my email and I deleted.


Jen Walters

At least BSA tells you what they think. I'm more afaird of organizations that won't. If you don't like it then don't join. At the end of the day this is America and they have the right to do and say what they please.

Flori... Floridamom96

The BSA is in the right. He doesn't meet the membership criteria. He knew this when he volunteered the info to the organization. And, no, he didn't earn it. He was not eligible for membership which is a requirement for earning eagle.

Todd Vrancic

The kid joined when he was six, an age where, to boys, girls are "icky."  They didn't kick him out when he came out as gay, so they should give him the Eagle Scout Award since he completed all the other requirements.

Flori... Floridamom96

The BSA was not aware this young man was gay until he informed them, according to the boys mother, no earlier than July 2012. It is clear from her petition that he had completed the requirements to earn his Eagle but had not yet had his board of review (which all scouts must do to go over his work and determine whether or not the advancement has in fact been achieved). When made aware that Andresen did not meet the membership requirements he lost his membership. The BSA did not sit on this information and allow him to continue work they had no intention of crediting him for. They acted when they knew. Why on earth don't people start a similar organization without the no gays restriction rather than attempting to change an existing organization?

Unsurprisingly Jeanne Sager provides only the information she wants you to have.

Todd Vrancic

Ah.  A detail I did not have.  Thank you, Floridamom.  I would certainly be in favor of a similar organization, I think the BSA is not flexible enough to deal with America's youth.

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